I am glad I don’t have a television, because there is something that newspeople do not seem to understand about the sacred.
Especially the sacredness of grief.
From what I have heard regarding the media’s coverage of this tragedy, it can best be described as “frenzied.” I think we should all just not watch it. Read about it. That is different. It does not impose on the sacred grief that video does.
I am grateful that I know what happened in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday morning–but I do wish more people would understand that there is a holiness to grief that should not be intruded upon, if possible.
I saw their pictures, though–those beautiful little children. And I wept, because I have one that age.
And I wept because of Joy. I felt all those feelings rush back–I felt the agony–and I felt her close.
And I sent out prayers for the moms and dads and brothers and sisters. And I felt helpless for a moment–and angry and frustrated and finally, the sick feeling in my stomach was too much to bear and I cried out for my Savior, because He has always been there for me in these moments when I face the abyss of what it means to have lost a child.
And I held on to Him.
And I felt her. Close. And my heart was swollen. And it hurt.
And she whispered to me the words of Joseph Smith:
We have again the warning voice sounded in our midst, which shows the uncertainty of human life; and in my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us, especially those that seem to be the most intelligent and interesting. The strongest reasons that present themselves to my mind are these: This world is a very wicked world; and it … grows more wicked and corrupt. … The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again. …
“… The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world. Notwithstanding all this glory, we for a moment lose sight of it, and mourn the loss, but we do not mourn as those without hope.”
And then I was caught off guard. Surprised by the feelings in my heart–the sure knowledge that I mourn again for all those who have died so suddenly and horrifically, but not as one without hope.
I was also comforted by something that has been a source of strength since Joy left us. I never got to say goodbye to her, not in mortality. I wasn’t with her when it happened. For all mortal eyes could see, she was alone. But, I know she was not. I know God was with her, as He was with those little ones in Connecticut–as He is with all little ones who suffer because of wickedness and violence in this world:
And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them…
I know all little children die in Him, and I believe that somehow, they do not taste of death–that the pains and agonies are somehow swallowed up as Jesus Christ Himself fills those little ones with His radiance and life–and they slip through to the other side in peace and perfectness–no matter what it appears to our mortal selves.
I can see that people are shocked and angry–angry that this happened–and that, in itself, is not a bad thing. We have been given enmity as a gift to know when something is not of God–when something is evil. But, after that initial recognition, it is best to hand it to the Lord, and to remember that the greatest protection for all little children is to do good to make things better.
And, I want to do something. I want to be better, as a tribute to those beautiful little lives, and as an act of defiance against the darkness of this world.
I read in lots of places on the internet that everyone was going to hug their kids a little tighter in the wake of this horrific tragedy.
That is good, but I felt like I not only needed to hug them tighter, but actively love them better.
What do they see? What do they hear? What do they feel? Am I paying attention?
Do my children experience enough beauty through music and nature and loving and serving?
Do they feel moved to help others, including their family members, do they want to spend time with each other? Do my husband and I treat each other with love and kindness?
Are we, as a family, gentle and kind, or do we spend too much time noticing faults, making sarcastic remarks in jest, or doing other things that make it harder to feel the closeness of God in our lives?
Do I really know what my kids are up to? Or am I too busy or too exhausted to pay real attention? And do I care enough to do more? To love them a little better? To say no when it’s hard, but the right thing to do? To put aside “guilty pleasures” in deference to light and love?
I know I can do better. And I will.
Because, more than anything, I want my children to be safe…
There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it! –Corrie Ten Boom
I hope everyone will be able to listen to what the Spirit is telling them to do in the wake of this event–because we can all do something--even if it is just a prayer of faith–but I believe we can do more than that…we can do better in honor of all those who have suffered.
And, we can mourn with hope:
Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away…
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…
I wrote about how I feel about the Savior’s role in the death of a child here, if you are interested.